NEW DELHI: The government on Monday declared a part of Thol wildlife sanctuary in Gujarat as a Eco Sensitive Zone (ESZ) and banned mining, commercial and industrial activity in the area.
A draft notification of the environment ministry said that the government shall also constitute a State level Eco-sensitive Zone Monitoring Committee (SESZMC) to monitor the compliance of the ESZ notification.
The SESZMC will be chaired by the chief secretary of the state and will have representatives from state urban development, ports and transport, NGO working in the field of nature conservation, Gujarat State Pollution Control Board and others.
"The extent of Eco Sensitive Zone ranges from 0.308 kilometre to 2.244 kilometres from the boundary of the sanctuary," the notification said.
At the same time, the ministry also banned all kinds of mining activities, as per the Environment Protection Act 1986, and has stated that all existing mining leases shall be phased out in a time bound manner.
"All types of mining (minor and major minerals), stone quarrying and crushing units except for that of domestic needs of bonafide local residents has been prohibited," the statement said.
It added,"No fresh mining lease shall be granted in the eco-sensitive zone and the existing mining leases, if any, shall be phased out in five years or with the term of current lease renewal, whichever is earlier."
The environment ministry, through its notification, further said that mining leases close to the wildlife sanctuaries within the eco sensitive zone shall erect wildlife protected fence or barrier around entire stretch of the mining lease at their cost before the phasing out period.
The ministry has stated that the SESZMC will submit the annual action taken report of its activities by the March 31 every year to the Environment ministry.
The notification has also prohibited the stoppage or diversion of water inflow into the sanctuary. "All inflow water into Thol wildlife sanctuary shalt not be stopped, diverted or obstructed by any means within Eco-sensitive Zone,"the notification said.
Source: The Times of India, 4 November 2013